Forum Replies Created
November 24, 2018 at 8:48 am #248331AsherParticipant
I can empathize deeply with your situation – I’ve felt a similar way since I was about eight years old. It can make every day stressful, feeling like you’re not getting enough out of it, fearing the loss of loved ones (or that your loved ones will lose you). It can consume you with dread and nausea. It can leave you with the sense that nothing will be stable or okay – how can it be when you will one day lose the most important people in your life? It’s a painful anxiety because you know it will happen, eventually. I know my fear of death was mixed in with a sense of general lack of protection in my childhood – if i wasn’t safe then, how could I ever know security? All forms of stability feel short lived because we are more aware than others that they aren’t a given.
I can’t say I’ve ever completely “fixed” this fear of mine, either, but I hope I can help with some suggestions that eased my pain. I’ve tried many things, from philosophical/religious approaches (not at all a bad idea, either!) ,to therapy, talking it out, etc. but this is what I, personally, have had success with:
One was to become comfortable with the fact that I was afraid – it cut down on my mental load to stop trying to push these thoughts away and stop trying to immediately ease my panic. You’ve been extremely brave in opening up about your experience here! It’s perfectly fine that death worries you – it’s a sign that you value life, it’s something that keeps people from making risky decisions, and it allows you to appreciate what you have in a unique way. The problem is that this worry is harming your ability to live a happy life, the emotion itself is valid and doesn’t need fixing!
I also found comfort in slowly introducing the things that made me so upset – I spent time reading on the Order of the Good Death and on death acceptance in general. It was the first time I saw death presented as a truly neutral thing and as something that could be discussed openly without need for euphemisms. I found it helped immensely to view death without the pressure to judge it. I ended up writing many college papers on subjects like burial and mourning, a less direct exposure which helped me become less afraid to confront my fears. Learning facts gave me a sense of control and security back.
You are already doing the most important thing – putting in the effort to show love to your family who are still alive. Please don’t forget to show yourself love, too! You may not be able to do the same sorts of things with your family anymore but you are showing the same devoted care. Your commitment to giving your children good lives and memories is a gift to them. In my culture, we say “may their life be a blessing” when someone dies – from your words I can tell your life is a blessing to others because you are so empathetic, your reaction to suffering in your lifetime was to make sure it would never, ever happen to your children.
Chronic disease is depressing and life altering, even for the most grateful and happy person. Adjusting to it genuinely takes a lot of time and strength. I’ve found it helpful, on days when I feel I’m not getting “enough” out of life, to write what I have done that made me happy, what I did for others, and what I experienced that was beautiful and good. It does not fix my disease but it gives me perspective, sometimes. It is good to remember that even days when you do nothing are valuable because they rested you enough to do something else the next day.
I also started making small changes to enjoy myself more – if I want to eat chocolate or burn a new candle, I don’t wait for a special occasion. I wear whatever makes me happy. I started leaving places and situations that made me feel like I was wasting my time. I try to plan less for the future and let myself have a good day today. Over the year I’ve done this, I’ve become more comfortable with how happy I am in my daily life, which makes me a little less scared to die. You may find it helpful to identify what makes you feel more comfortable with the concept of death, whether it’s a large goal or simply making yourself happier.
I hope sharing my coping methods might help you, that you feel you were heard, and that you get some rest from your worries soon.November 24, 2018 at 8:47 am #248315AsherParticipant
First of all, I’d like to let you know that you are always the expert on your own sexuality – no one else can define it except you. If a label feels uncomfortable, you never have to use it. You’re under no obligation to tell anyone else, either. Your sexuality belongs to you.
But from what I’m reading, it seems like the idea of being gay or bisexual disgusts and upsets you. Yet you constantly have this thought and have trouble focusing on anything else. This really does seem like it’s an intrusive thought which is a symptom of many different anxiety disorders – your research on OCD may be substantiated. You need to see a professional psychologist or LCSW. There are often resources available if you can’t regularly access this care, I would suggest doing a targeted search in your area.
I had a similar experience I’d like to share as someone with diagnosed OCD – I would obsess over the idea I was secretly straight and somehow faking my attraction, or that it would go away. That thought was heartbreaking to me and caused me a lot of distress – I just KNEW it wasn’t truly who I was. Thinking of living life as a heterosexual person filled me with dread and depressed me. I think that you might feel the same way about being lesbian. It’s important to know this thought is hard to get rid of because it is upsetting to you – not because it’s true. It sounds like you’re afraid that you’ll lose your boyfriend (and good relationship) if you were gay and that scares you.
In general (and as a gay person who has spent a long, long time in the queer community) gay and bisexual people do not feel disgust at the idea of being attracted to the same sex. We may feel shame and struggle with internalized homophobia because we have been told it is bad/sinful or fear the way being gay will impact our lives (discrimination, loss of family/friends, etc.) but genuinely feel happy and excited at the prospect of loving and dating other women/men. It’s a part of realizing ourselves.
Lastly, you have your whole life to figure out who you are and who you love – if your answer ever changes, that’s fine. It doesn’t invalidate anything you’ve felt in the past, or are feeling now. It does not change your worth as a person. I hope you receive unconditional love & acceptance for yourself and from others as you cope with your anxieties, whatever the outcome.